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Heaven and Hell—A Phenomenological Study of Recreational Use of 4-HO-MET in Sweden

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The psychoactive substance 4-HO-MET (4-hydroxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine) with psychedelic qualities is one of many legal so-called Internet drugs. The aim of this qualitative study was to establish an understanding of what characterizes its recreational use. Very little is known about the effects of this substance. Twenty-five anonymous Swedish experience reports (from persons aged 18–30 years) from public Internet forums were analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological Method. The analysis produced 37 categories that were compiled into nine general themes: (1) motivation, preparation and expectation; (2) initial effects; (3) change of perception; (4) unfiltered awareness and intensified flow of information; (5) lateral cognition; (6) border between subject and object is erased; (7) heaven; (8) hell; and (9) subsiding effects. An understanding of the chronological happenings, called The Process, appeared out of the general structure. Drastic changes in cognitive, emotional and bodily functions were described. The motivation for use seemed to be driven by a strong curiosity. The experiences shifted between “heaven” and “hell,” but participants appeared satisfied and ready to repeat the experience. The experiences described show great similarity with classic psychedelic substances as LSD or psilocybin. More research is needed about health hazards or possible therapeutic potentials.

Kjellgren, A., & Soussan, C. (2011). Heaven and Hell—A Phenomenological Study of Recreational Use of 4-HO-MET in Sweden. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(3), 211-219.
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